Laurie Ruettimann writes in her blog, The Cynical Girl, that Human Resources types are often the “roadblock” to organizations using telecommuting as a flexible workplace strategy. Since many HR folks are some of the most conservative people I know I agree with her statements. Many in HR don’t trust employees to be working hard while at home. But to be fair, many managers don’t either. At least not until they see the results of the good work that can be done.
I happen to know that telecommuting can be extremely effective because I see it all the time. Although my wife travels extensively, when she is home she works from home. And as a result the company reaps the benefit of her being able to work from a home office. She works that extra 2 hours a day that she would have to been in a car to get to the office. They get an extra 10 hours per week as a result, yet she gets the “quality of life” she wants. (I am assuming here of course that she considers be around me for another 10 hours is quality.) Her whole team does the same thing and as a team they are incredibly productive. They have meetings, they train people, and they share documents all because technology helps them.
Laurie was very correct in her statement, one that I have written many times as well, that you have to have the right people to work in a telecommuting position. They have to have work ethic and they have to have commitment. But you also have to have the right manager. You can’t micromanage. You can’t take attendance by counting heads. But most of all you have to trust that you selected the right people.
If you are one of those people who don’t believe that great work can be done strictly in a “telecommuting” mode then watch the You Tube video below. This is from the work of Eric Whitacre, who created a Virtual Choir by having people submit a singing video on You Tube. He then compiled them into the video below. It shows that “telecommuting” cannot only produce great work, it can produce great art as well.
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